What’s the number one way people are turned off by an author? Poor grammar and lots of typos.
Ok, not always, but generally when an author has a typo he/she immediately loses credibility. How many times have you pointed out a spelling mistake on a menu? We know We have.
If you’ve ever had issues with grammar or vocabulary, you are not alone. The onslaught of spell-checking software and grammar-checking websites exist for a reason. But never fear! There are a ton of ways you can improve your grammar and vocabulary.
Start by Defining Your “Issues”
Getting better at anything requires you to identify your weak areas. The same is true for improving your writing, grammar, and vocabulary.
- Ask a friend or seek professional help in order to spot your mistakes if you cannot identify them.
- Write down what you want to improve as starting point
- Figure out where you want to end up. Starting with the goal in-mind is crucial to bettering yourself. Want to improve your vocabulary? Set a goal to learn 100 new words in 3 months.
- Then create a strategy that will help you achieve that goal. If you set your goal around improving your vocabulary, set a goal to include 10 new words in every piece of writing going forward.
With a goal and strategy in mind, you will soon be on your way to achieving your goal.
Tools for Improvement
Now that you have your goal and plan for improvement, how can you actually improve your grammar, vocabulary, or other writing skillset? Thanks to the Internet, there are a lot of resources that you can use to get better. Below are some resources you can use:
- Websites such as “Grammar Girl” provide daily tips and tricks for improving your grammar and punctuation. In addition, they provide lots of articles on correct usage.
- There are tons of grammar and writing books out there, both for reference and improving your writing. One of our favorites is appropriately named “The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need.”
- As we mentioned on Day 1, read more. The fastest way kids learn new words is by reading books above their reading level and looking the words they don’t understand up in the dictionary. The same habit for adults. Reading more will not only teach you new words, but also provide you with examples of proper grammar.
Proofreading Other People’s Content
The classic cliché that “practice makes perfect” holds true with improving your writing as well. If you truly want to become better with grammar and expand your vocabulary, there is no better opportunity than proofreading. Once you’ve read some guidebooks/blogs on grammar, you’ll be able to easily pick out common errors in others’ writing.
There are a number of websites, scribendi.com and proofreadingpal.com to name a few, where you can apply to be a proofreader. Or just ask your friends to send their essays for school to you next time they need to submit one.
Proofreading is great practice for improving your grammar and vocabulary skills. You may even get to crack open a Thesaurus to see if you can learn a new word or two while editing.
For more from our 7 Days to Better Writing series: